Half Year Review: How Well Have I Stuck to Those New Year’s Resolutions?

We’re over half way through the year and it was my birthday recently, so, I’ve been in a slightly reflective mood. I thought it would be useful to review my new year’s resolutions (see here). The coronavirus was an interesting time for testing these habits and developing new ones along the way.

  1. Resolved to support my wife as she completes her doctorate and starts a new job in the first half of this year. My wife’s thesis is nearing completion and the new job will begin soon. I am about to begin reading drafts which is exciting!
  2. Resolved to develop habits of prayer, worship and scriptural reflection through Common Worship (MP/EP) and the Lectionary (using Bruner’s Commentary on Matthew for Year A). Resolved to encounter the beauty and strangeness of scripture through reading in Greek and Hebrew as much as possible, and reading and singing Psalms in metre (resources like those from John Bell, Ian White, the Free Church Psalter and the KJV translation in the Book of Common Prayer). In terms of prayer, resolved to remember the nations of the world and the church universal (I’ll probably use resources from OpenDoors and Operation World). Resolved to continue to invest in the local church through attending services in which corporate confession, Word and Sacrament feature as well as participating in prayer and discussion groups. I’ve kept to a fairly steady programme of morning prayer (BCP/Common Worship). I find it best to listen to some music (usually through Pray As You Go) to both wake up and stir my heart to pray and worship. I’ve enjoyed reading through Luke’s Gospel, Genesis and Exodus, though I admit to getting a bit lost in Joshua-Judges. I’ve also been mixing things up by reading a devotional theology book in the evening—I’m making my way through Lexham’s Christian Essential Series (and have completed Wes Hill’s wonderful book, The Lord’s Prayer). Extempore and intercessory prayer has been mixed though I have developed a weekly journal for certain days. I’ve been recently moved to pray for the situation in China, for instance.
  3. When it comes to current affairs, resolved to spend more time reading substantial news and comment pieces from major sources (Unherd and The Times) and to support these organisations in their endeavours. Conversely, resolved to spend less time on click bait and Twitter by using the latter for uploading blog posts and answering queries. I signed up for the Times phone app soon after making these resolutions though don’t use it nearly as much as I’d like. I enjoy the coverage from Unherd which I try and catch up with on the weekends. I am spending too much time on social media though I’ve started to read books instead which is working better.
  4. Resolved to keep up my use of foreign languages through the use of a mobile application (Russian so as to communicate with family and Hebrew, Latin and Greek for study). I’ll probably use AnkiMobile. I got as far as March with this but then stopped. I think I’ve tried to be too ambitious and so will be committing from today to just Greek and Russian, with 15 words/phrases a day.
  5. Resolved to read a good mix of fiction and non-fiction. On the former, prioritising British and Russian and for the latter, works relevant to this blog (particularly focussing this year on empire and national identity). I’ll be using GoodReads to track my reading habits. GoodReads has been a very helpful tool for organising my reading. I now try to have one book on culture, one theological book and one fiction book at a time. I still have a bit of a backlog but hope to finish some titles during my Summer break.
  6. Resolved to blog at least every other week as far as is possible. I mostly kept to this, particularly with the CovidDiary though this trailed off. I’ve toyed with writing shorter pieces that just provide a very rough idea which I might then develop into a large piece at a later point. I’ve got a few pieces on the go now over the Summer so I’m excited to complete those.
  7. Resolved to volunteer with a local organisation and so invest in local community. I’ll be helping with a locally organised project that takes place in London. I hope to supplement this with something based in Cambridge itself.
  8. Resolved to endeavour to develop and grow friendships near and afar. One of the joys of lockdown has been to connect with two good friends in Scotland. I hope that we will continue to speak once a week. I’m also in touch with friends in the States and, best of all, enjoying time my niece and brother/sister in law.
  9. Resolved to make every effort to publish my thesis. It’s currently with a publisher. Fingers crossed!
  10. Resolved to support free debate and inquiry in society by attending events like those put on by the Cambridge Union. I got my membership and enjoyed quite a few events, including Ban Ki-Moon’s visit and the Starta v Athens debate.

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